Monday 20 May 2013

Review: The Big Wedding

World of Blackout Film Review

The Big Wedding Poster

The Big Wedding
Cert: 15 / 89 mins / Dir. Justin Zackham

You are cordially invited to an almighty mess of a movie, which tries its hand at broad farce, thoughtful drama and gross-out comedy. Sadly, these don't mesh together comfortably, as 1) the farce is pretty much in full swing from the word go, with no ascension to breaking point as it's all just shouty chaos, 2) the heartfelt melodramatic pieces start too early in the film, before we've gotten to like or even know the families, and the film's not long enough to properly accommodate the number of characters we're supposed to care about, and 3) Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton just look embarrassed for the duration of their 'raunchy' scenes. Almost as embarrassed as I was, in fact.

And then Robert De Niro fell in a swimming pool!
Not even kidding!

The Big Wedding isn't all awful, and there are chuckles to be had, but it's rarely more than that. It has the air of one of those godawful ensemble comedies with a handful of stories fighting for screen-time, and where you know there can be no clear winner, largely because the weapons they're using are so worn. Even the more likeable performances from Robin Williams and Topher Grace feel phoned-in, and the fact that the wedding couple themselves are pushed into supporting roles makes it feel more like a mashup of Meet The Parents and Mamma Mia than writer/director Justin Zackham would like you to think*1.

And then Robert De Niro got punched in the face!
Not even kidding!

I'd be able to give the film more credit if it knew what it wanted to be. The trailer makes it look like a pedestrian feel-good family comedy but it's often too bawdy for that, yet it's nowhere near as edgy or alternative as it'd like. It's a formulaic wedding-comedy that can't decide if it wants to thank you for coming, or take the piss out of what you've chosen to wear.

And then Robert De Niro called his ex-wife a cunt.
Not even kidding.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Ish. In some ways, it's more than the trailer, but in others it's exactly that.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
I chuckled, when I wasn't wincing.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Not really.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
DVD at best, but rent or borrow, don't buy.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Yeah. I will.

Will I watch it again?
I can't imagine so.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
With last year's Gambit remake, this year's I'm So Excited!, and now The Big Wedding all struggling to successfully merge chaos and laughs: can Farce work in movies, now? Should it be consigned to a time when it worked better because films played by a different set of rules?

*1 Yes, as if the casting of De Niro and Seyfried wasn't making you think that already…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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